There are two men in Tolstoy. He is a mystic and he is also a realist. He is addicted to the practice of a pietism that for all its sincerity is nothing if not vague and sentimental; and he is the most acute and dispassionate of observers, the most profound and earnest student of character and emotion.— William Ernest Henley
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beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll;
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
Life is worth Living Through every grain of it, From the foundations To the last edge Of the cornerstone, death.
Here is the ghost Of a summer that lived for us, Ere is a promise Of summer to be.
Were I so tall as to reach the pole or grasp the ocean at a span, I must be measured by my soul. The mind is the standard of the man.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Open your heart and take us in, Love-love and me.
Night with her train of stars And her great gift of sleep.
O, it's die we must, but it's live we can, And the marvel of earth and sun Is all for the joy of woman and man And the longing that makes them one." (Between the Dusk of a Summer Night, 13-16)
Behold me waiting—waiting for the knife.
... The thick, sweet mystery of chloroform, The drunken dark, the little death-in-life.... [F]ace to face with chance, I shrink a little: My hopes are strong, my will is something weak. ...I am ready But, gentlemen my porters, life is brittle: You carry Cæsar and his fortunes—steady!
The nightingale has a lyre of gold, The lark's is a clarion call, And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute, But I love him best of all. For his song is all the joy of life, And we in the mad spring weather, We two have listened till he sang Our hearts and lips together.
I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.
Life is a smoke that curls- Curls in a flickering skein, That winds and whisks and whirls, A figment thin and vain, Into the vast inane. One end for hut and hall.
Men there have been who have done the essayist's part so well as to have earned an immortality in the doing; but we have had not many of them, and they make but a poor figure on our shelves. It is a pity that things should be thus with us, for a good essayist is the pleasantest companion imaginable.
Pointed criticism, if accurate, often gives the artist an inner sense of relief.
The criticism that damages is that which disparages, dismisses, ridicules, or condemns.
In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud: Under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed.
This is the merit and distinction of art: to be more real than reality, to be not nature but nature's essence.
I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.
So be my passing! My task accomplished and the long day done, My wages taken, and in my heart Some late lark singing, Let me be gathered in the quiet west, The sundown splendid and serene, Death.
Life - life - let there be life! Better a thousand times the roaring hours When wave and wind, Like the Arch-Murderer in flight From the Avenger at his heel, Storm through the desolate fastnesses And wild waste places of the world!
It is the artist's function not to copy but to synthesise: to eliminate from that gross confusion of actuality which is his raw material whatever is accidental, idle, irrelevant, and select for perpetuation that only which is appropriate and immortal.
A late lark twitters from the quiet skies.
So many are the deaths we die Before we can be dead indeed.
Shakespeare often writes so ill that you hesitate to believe he could ever write supremely well; or, if this way of putting it seem indecorous and abominable, he very often writes so well that you are loth to believe he could ever have written thus extremely ill.
Who but knows How it goes! Life's a last year's Nightingale, Love's a last year's rose.
Men may scoff, and men may pray, But they pay Every pleasure with a pain.
Life - life - let there be life!
Essayists, like poets, are born and not made, and for one worth remembering, the world is confronted with a hundred not worth reading. Your true essayist is, in a literary sense, the friend of everybody.
Into the winter's gray delight, Into the summer's golden dream, Holy and high and impartial, Death, the mother of Life, Mingles all men for ever.
[T]hey stretch you on a table. Then they bid you close your eyelids, And they mask you with a napkin, And the anæsthetic reaches Hot and subtle through your being.
Madam, Life's a piece in bloom death goes dogging everywhere: She's the tenant of the room he's the ruffian on the stair.
The life of Dumas is not only a monument of endeavour and success, it is a sort of labyrinth as well. It abounds in pseudonyms and disguises, in sudden and unexpected appearances and retreats as unexpected and sudden, in scandals and in rumours, in mysteries and traps and ambuscades of every kind.
For it's home, dearie, home--it's home I want to be.
Our topsails are hoisted, and we'll away to sea. O, the oak and the ash and the bonnie birken tree They're all growing green in the old countrie.
Now, to read poetry at all is to have an ideal anthology of one's own, and in that possession to be incapable of content with the anthologies of all the world besides.
And lo, the Hospital, gray, quiet, old, Where life and death like friendly chafferers meet.
Shakespeare and Rembrandt have in common the faculty of quickening speculation and compelling the minds of men to combat and discussion.
A late lark twitters from the quiet skies:And from the west,Where the sun, his day's work ended,Lingers as in content,There falls on the old, gray cityAn influence luminous and serene,A shining peace.
Life - life - life! 'Tis the sole great thing This side of death, Heart on heart in the wonder of Spring!
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.Under the bludgeonings of chanceMy head is bloody, but unbow'd.Beyond this place of wrath and tearsLies but the horror of the shade,And yet the menace of the yearsFinds, and shall find me, unafraid.It matters not how strait the gate,How charged with punishments the scroll,I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul.
Life is, I think, a blunder and a shame.
Life - give me life until the end, That at the very top of being, The battle-spirit shouting in my blood, Out of the reddest hell of the fight I may be snatched and flung Into the everlasting lull, The immortal, incommunicable dream.